OPINION: EDITOR’S COMMENT

’He plays a game with which I am not familiar,’ was the pithy comment on John Banks whispered in my ear by an agency big cheese during one of several lulls in the IPA Effectiveness Awards evening last week. I’d been teasing him with news of the FCB acquisition of Banks Hoggins O’Shea.

’He plays a game with which I am not familiar,’ was the pithy

comment on John Banks whispered in my ear by an agency big cheese during

one of several lulls in the IPA Effectiveness Awards evening last week.

I’d been teasing him with news of the FCB acquisition of Banks Hoggins

O’Shea.



Another eminence grise ruminated on money, deals and lucky bastards:

’Amazing how you can still just set up shop, trundle along a while,

become a thorn in the big boys’ side and then, sooner or later, one of

them will come along and buy you.’



To which I’d remark Banks Hoggins O’Shea wasn’t even that much of a

thorn.



Born out of the false dawn that was the Banks Partnership, since 1991 it

has become a pounds 47 million billing agency, making it almost exactly

the same size as FCB.



To be honest, it’s an agency I’ve never been able to get a particularly

firm handle on, partly due to my inability to see beyond what I take to

be the larger-than-life, cigar-smoking ’Peter Marsh of the 90s’ image

Banks himself conveys.



In my head, he’s a wheeler-dealer figure, lumped together with the likes

of Lord Bell, Lord Saatchi, Marsh and the recently deceased Nigel

Grandfield.



I’m vaguely aware of ’consultancy’ associations with the likes of senior

Turkish politicians, and that he is very well connected. I’ve heard the

stories about Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather, but I don’t really

know if they’re true. I’m sure he’s good at making money.



Ken Hoggins and Chris O’Shea are a respected duo, who’ve bounced back

well from their big Chiat Day mistake. They’ve created some nice work

for Amtico, Waitrose and Bombay Sapphire Gin, but working with a

relatively limited client base they’ve never quite managed that major

creative breakthrough.



And so it came to pass that the UK’s 26th largest agency found itself

acquired by the 25th largest, FCB. Yes, 25th largest. More experienced

readers may find this view of the former number one shop only marginally

more difficult to accept than seeing CDP languish in 23rd place.



Is Banks Hoggins O’Shea/FCB the answer? Not with the names in that

order.



The logic of acquiring extra critical mass as part of the first steps on

the road to recovery from the disastrous Publicis relationship is

clear.



The logic of not putting the FCB name first is not. If the idea behind

FCB’s new-found hunger in Europe is to utilise the sheer power and scale

of the FCB brand in the US, then how is this served by not being called

FCB in the most important European market? A similar wrangle went on

before the TBWA merger. The previous sentence proves my point.



Apologies to Lord Marshall, who was the chairman of this year’s IPA

Effectiveness Awards jury, not his predecessor at BA, Lord King (as I

foolishly wrote last week). That’ll teach me to bristle next time I get

mail addressed to Bernard Barnett, editor, Campaign.



Have your say in CampaignLive’s forum, which can be found on channel 4

at www.campaignlive.com.



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).